I made these 'learning posts' in June for Spina Bifida Awareness month, but thought I'd make a stand-alone blog so that if anyone is interested, all of the information is here. And I can add as I learn more about spina bifida as well!

Spina Bifida is the most common birth defect in North America. My son Nickolas was born November 13, 2009 with spina bifida and I have chronicalled our journey here, in my personal blog.

I hope you enjoy and learn something!


The information from this blog has been collected by myself to share what I have learned. It should in no way replace medical recommendations or consultation. This is for educational and information purposes only.

Start by picking a topic below:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What is the MACE

When I have been posting about Nick's surgery I have been trying to link back to what the MACE is.
I do have it described within the blog, but no one post that says "this is what Nick had done".
So this post is all about what the MACE is.

MACE stands for Malone Antegrade Continence/Colonic Enema (or just plane Malone) and it is surgery.

Malone is the guy who perfected the procedure, Antegrade means moving forward, the C stands for Contience, which is the goal or Colonic which is the part of the body (colon) involved, Enema is introducing fluid to clear out the bowels of poop.

So how do you actually do this? You use the appendix. That part of the body that no one knows what the purpose is. It has a purpose when spina bifida is involved. It is tubular which is perfect for put a catheter through and into another organ like the colon (it can be used to go into the bladder as well in a surgery called the Mitronoff, but can only be used once).

So the MACE uses the appendix to move an enema solution forward through the colon to provide continence and prevent constipation, in a way that provides easy access for the individual and leads to independence.

So how is this done?
First some biology. The appendix is attached to the colon. The colon, also known as the large intestine is where poop has difficulty moving, moves slowly and constipation is when the colon fills with poop that doesn't move and clear out. And the end of the colon is the rectum and bum.


Our goal for continence with spina bifida is to clear poop out the colon and be able to time when it is filled again. This allows a clean colon during the day hours so there is no poop to leak out (incontinence)

A traditional enema puts in fluid through the bum to work it's way backwards through the colon, collect all the poop and then poops it out. An antegrade enema moves fluid forward through the colon and poops out the bum. It doesn't need the time or fluid amount to works it's way up through the colon, because it starts at the beginning.

The MACE surgery involves bringing the appendix to the belly button to create a stoma or a surgical opening/hole. Usually this hole is hidden in the belly button. It is tightened inside so that fluid can go in, but nothing drains out.


A catheter goes in through the stoma, through the appendix and into the colon. Fluid goes through the catheter and into the colon flushing it forward and out.
This pictures shows the stoma in the belly and not the belly button. It shows the ileon (small bowel), colon, appendix, stoma and catheter. (all labelled in ?Spanish)


A foley catheter (latex free of course) is used, which has a balloon on the end to keep it in place in the colon while the fluid is going in. At the end of the flush the balloon is deflated and the catheter comes out. Leaving the stoma hidden in the belly button.



So that is the end result. But first is the surgery. It takes about 2 hours under general anesthetic. They can do it laproscopically, which means there is no large incision, but a smaller incisions (with 2 stitches) that allow the doctor to work. It won't interfere with shunt tubing either.



With laproscopy, there is no large incisions, less pain and a quicker recovery. And less of a hospital stay. 


We stayed in hospital 2 nights/3 days and were ready to be discharged home. By the time we went home Nick didn't need any more morphine, and just using Tylenol/Advil as needed (But he did need them the first night). The hospital stay and recovery is different for every person and every surgeon. It depends on techniques, complications and pain control. The more invasive the technique, the longer the recovery and the more the pain.

For the recovery Tylenol and Advil work at home. And a foley catheter is left in place to keep the stoma open and let it heal. (The stoma is like an ear piercing and will try to close if you don't keep in place or pass a catheter through it regularly).

There is some of patient information available on the internet.

This is a patient education package for patients from Urology department in San Fransisco. It has pictures and describes the procedure and recovery. It is very similar to the package that we received when we left the hospital gave to us prior to discharge.

I found another pdf document that talks about parent experiences and opinions with the MACE. It was very helpful for me to try to figure out what to expect and what complications there could be and also the opinion of those who are actually living with it.\

So that is the MACE. There are other options out there, some are surgical and some are non-surgical.
We worked our way up to surgery, and did not make the decision lightly.

1 comment:

  1. Great entry, you did a fantastic job at explaining it. I'm glad you found my document helpful :)
    Cheers, Bridgette

    ReplyDelete